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Forget tech strategy: Business strategy is what matters

Technology strategies are often useless because they're not expressions of a business strategy

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The real question is how do you enable your users and your customers. It's no longer a question of whether they have a mobile device, it's just a question of whether they can use it to do their jobs better. When your goal is enable your user to become more flexible and agile, in the process of becoming more productive and efficient, you aren't talking about just email anymore.

When you get out of ownership thinking and into enablement thinking, you start to focus on what your users are actually doing. What are their needs? I refer to it as the FUN principle: Focus on user needs.

You start with the business requirements. Look at the current business processes and figure out where mobile can play to make them easier and more efficient. Is it more efficient to be able to enter the clinical data into the computer while talking to the patient, or is it better to use a clipboard and enter the information into a PC later? Does it make sense for your pilots to be carrying around 20 pounds of manuals when they can carry a 1.5-pound device that has all the same manuals and be updated dynamically? Should your construction workers be able to use augmented reality to see where the wire and conduits in a building are, or should they carry around a role of blueprints they have to unroll at every floor?

The future of mobile (and really every other technology) is the ability to make it part of your current business ecosystem. Your goal is to give your users and customers the best tools that you can. You build apps for those devices; they then become the tools of the trade. It's great that you have a tip calculator app on your mobile device, but if you can't do your expenses when you spend work's money, how did you really provide a tool?

When the mix of devices and apps provide the tools for secure access to the corporate ecosystem, you know you have succeeded. When your users can do that conference call from wherever they are, watching the presentation on their tablet, take a picture of that receipt and submit it, enter the clinical data as soon as they receive it patient-side, or do any other process that is part of your business, you know you have found the next thing.

This article, "Forget tech strategy: Business strategy is what matters," originally appeared at A Screw's Loose and is republished at with permission (© Brian Katz). Read more of Brian Katz's The Squeaky Wheel blog at or at A Screw's Loose. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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